The Director of US National Intelligence James Clapper has announced his resignation, although he would stay until the end of President Barack Obama’s administration. Clapper announced his resignation during a testimony before the House of Representatives Select Intelligence Committee on Wednesday.
Having called his time as an intelligence officer “more than enough,” the spymaster said that submitting his resignation “felt pretty good.” “I submitted my letter of resignation last night which felt pretty good. I’ve got 64 days left,” he told the committee, ending his tenure weeks before President-elect Donald Trump takes over the White House.
Upon making the announcement, some lawmakers jokingly asked the spymaster to serve four more years. As the director of the National Intelligence, Clapper had authority over 17 intelligence agencies, including the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the National Security Agency (NSA), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
Overall, he received reports from over 107,000 employees in these agencies, which operate on a combined budget of more than $50 billion. Clapper made a reputation for himself by constantly denying the existence of the NSA’s extensive surveillance programs on millions of people inside and outside the US. He tried to mend the agency’s public image after it was marred in the wake of Edward Snowden’s revelations.
When asked by a congressman whether the NSA was collecting any data of American citizens, Clapper simply said “not wittingly.” In terms of foreign policy, Clapper has shown strong animosity towards Russia, often warning Americans and the White House against Moscow’s plans. In the build-up to the November 8 vote that saw Trump defeating his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, Clapper often accused Russia of meddling in the election process in Trump’s favor. However, he said in early September that he had made sure that the transition to the new administration would go smooth under any condition.